Five-time paralympic gold medallist, Kieran Modra, has been killed in a cycling accident near Gawler, north of Adelaide.
The father-of-three was cycling on the Sturt Highway at Kingford, when he was stuck by a car just after 7am.
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He died at the scene despite the efforts of paramedics to save his life.
The 47-year-old was known for achieving at the elite level not just in cycling, but also in track and field and swimming – overcoming the vision impairment he’s had since birth, to win at the highest level.
Police are now investigating what caused the impact.
The swimmer and tandem cyclist won five gold and five bronze medals at eight Paralympic Games between 1988 and 2016, and two silver medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Royal Society for the Blind said Modra was a “longtime supporter and friend”.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife Kerry and the Modra family at this difficult time,” the group said in a Facebook post.
Modra was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 2014 for services to sport and vision impaired people.One of four children, he was born in Port Lincoln and grew up on a farm before attending high school in Adelaide.
His younger sister Tania won two gold medals as a tandem cycling pilot at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.
Paralympics Australia chief executive Lynne Anderson said the news had shattered the Australian Paralympic community.
“We are in shock and we are absolutely devastated,” Anderson said.
“Our deepest condolences are with Kieran’s wife Kerry and their three children as well as the many people within the Paralympic community, particularly the Para-cycling community, who will be rocked by this tragedy. We are hurting with you.
“Kieran is a giant of Australian Paralympic sport, not only because of his competitive success but also because of his wider contribution to the Paralympic movement across multiple sports over many years. He has left a legacy that will live on.”
Police superintendent Bob Gray said it was too early to determine the cause of the crash and it was not clear whether the driver involved would be charged.
Modra’s death brings South Australia’s road toll to 97 for 2019, including seven fatalities in the past week. At the same time last year, the toll stood at 63.